Finding Quality Educational Resources

Posted on by James Thomas.

How to use the Internet to find quality educational resources.

Books

I have been doing a lot of reading lately and I think its important to understand how I go about deciding which books to read and which to pass up or postpone until later. In my opinion, time is the most valuable resource to an entrepreneur. In order to save time I will start off by listing some of the methods that I use to find books.

I have found Quora to be a great resource when looking for expert opinions on specific topics. Just go to Quora and search for the applicable topic or something like “best _________ book”. Once you find a book of interest, be sure to check out the Amazon reviews - especially the absolute worst ones. You should immediately discard any negative reviews that seem unreasonable. The point of this is rather to find criticisms of the author, the content of the book, or criticism showing that someone with similar needs as you found the book unhelpful. It is also important to google criticisms of the author and the book or check Wikipedia for criticisms of the author or central idea of the book. You may still decide to purchase the book - after all, no book is perfect - but you need to be aware of any issues with the book or the book's central idea before you read it.

A few other ways to start looking for information is to search for a top university's course curriculum. Also, don't underestimate word of mouth. If you are in a larger city, be sure to use meetup.com to find meetups that interest you (not necessarily entrepreneurship focused meetups either). If you do have the advantage of being in a larger city, don't forget to check out local resources that may only apply to your city. For example, in Atlanta we have Hypepotamus - which has one of the very best event/meetup calendars for Atlanta. When you attend a meetup, you can usually find someone there that has read a particularly popular book in regards to a specific subject you are interested in. It is likely that someone with your particular interests or in a similar situation as you could recommend some good books that would be beneficial.

Reading the Book

Now that you've selected the next book that you should read, you should remember what you are trying to learn from the book. It’s important to take some time while reading the book so that you can digest what is being read rather than speed reading the book and moving onto the next one. The best way to make sure you are comprehending the material is to try to explain the book to someone that also has an interest in the material. I have found that talking or teaching the material allows me to make connections between the material in one book to other books I have already read. I would say that being able to make connections between other books you are reading is important because it means you are focused in a certain direction and area of expertise. When you can combine different frameworks or ideas together between multiple books you start to truly understand the subject of your study.

Videos, Articles, and Other Media

These same steps can be applied to find educational videos, blogs, articles, or magazines. It really is easy as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Start with Quora
  2. Look for any reviews and understand the negative ones
  3. And lastly, find criticisms about the author and decide if consuming the content is worth your time